Each fall students return to the classroom and share what they did over the summer. Faculty at the New England School of Communications also have summertime tales to tell and here we’ll highlight just a few of the interesting ways they spent their break.
Audio Engineering Associate Professor Walter Clissen stayed very busy working with world-renowned artist Jose Feliciano recording a new Django Reinhardt tribute album by Feliciano and Viennese guitarist Harri Stojka at LA-Clip Studios in Vienna Austria, rehearsing and recording Feliciano a the Academy of Contemporary Music/Metropolis Studios in London, and mixing Feliciano’s new album Latin Street 2015. In addition, Clissen continues to mix Front-of-House for Feliciano’s live shows including his performance at the Henley Festival of Music and the Arts in London.
Entertainment Production Coordinator and Instructor Ken Stack spent part of his summer working as Scenic Designer for the upcoming October run of The Producers at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth, ME. Plus he wrote the script for the next installment of WHSN’s award winning old-time radio drama Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery & Imagination, slated for a live broadcast from the Gracie Theatre on Friday, October 28th.
Video Production Assistant Professor Todd Eastman traveled to Atlanta, GA to work as Director of Photography on concussion awareness videos produced for the Brain Trauma Association. The production was filmed on an Arri Alexa as A cam with a Sony FS7 Steadicam (just like the one we have here at NESCom) as B cam.
Greg Wonder, a 2010 graduate of the New England School of Communications has been hard at work over the past 3 years working on the documentary Dennis Viollet – A United Man which was recently finished. Wonder took some time out of his busy video production schedule in Los Angeles to talk with the NESCom Blog to talk about the project and its plans for the future.
NESCom Blog: Bring us up to date on what you’re doing in Los Angeles and how you became involved with Dennis Viollet – A United Man?
Wonder: I’m based out of Los Angeles and as far as entertainment employment goes, this is really the best place for it. My work consists of many things like writing, directing and producing but my day to day job is really as a cinematographer, video editor, and colorist. Editing/color are the things I end up doing most since there’s far more demand for it. I am a freelance contractor but the bulk of my work comes from the same company and we work on a variety of different things from fashion/makeup brands to beverage companies.
I became involved in the project through simple networking. Rachel Viollet (the film’s director/producer) and I met through mutual friends when we were both new to LA and she mentioned that she wanted to make this documentary about her father. She liked my work and the two of us got along really well so she brought me on as the DP, editor, and co-producer.
NESCom Blog: So who is Dennis Viollet and what is his story?
Wonder: Dennis Viollet – A United Man is a documentary about a Manchester United legend who played back in the 50’s and 60’s. He’s one of the best players to ever come through the club and actually still holds the record for most goals in a season. After his professional career in England he came to the United States and played a huge roll in popularizing the game over here.
NESCom Blog: With a subject that spent time in both England and America, did you have to shoot in both countries?
Wonder: The first thing we shot was a couple of short interviews in LA of Rachel and the consulting producer Kim Waltrip (producer Hit & Run)for an indiegogo campaign. The campaign raised enough money for Rachel and I to travel to England for a week and shoot our first batch of interviews. We spoke to men like Denis Law and Sir Alex Ferguson who are legends in the sport which was pretty amazing. After England, we traveled to Jacksonville, FL which is where Dennis spent the second half of his life, and shot the remaining interviews for the film. We shot Rachel’s interview in LA and also was able to grab one with the global ambassador for Man U as he was passing through town on business.
NESCom Blog: How did the film challenge you as DP/Editor?
Wonder: The creative process of editing a documentary is quite a challenge because there is no script. You create an outline of the general story you want to tell but it largely comes down to sitting in the booth and piecing together a story with the available soundbites and presenting them in a way that makes sense and is compelling. We didn’t want to rely on voice over to tell the story, but rather tell it completely through the interviews so I spent a lot of time sifting through hours of footage to find the little soundbites that would work well together. Rachel also transcribed every interview, which was helpful because she could read through them and offer suggestions for what might work well in a particular section or pick out pieces I may have overlooked.
Director Rachel Viollet with Greg Wonder
NESCom Blog: Tell us about the film’s debut in LA and the plans for future screenings/festivals/awards?
Wonder: We screened the film at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles and it was very well received. Seeing my work on the big screen was a great moment. It was definitely a personal milestone for me. We also screened it the following weekend in Jacksonville, where Dennis spent the latter half of his life, which was really cool since the story is so personal to the city. We have also been selected as the opening night film for the Manchester Film Festival in England on March 3rd which is exciting.
NESCom Blog: What did you learn in the process?
Wonder: I learned a LOT about soccer! Both about the game in general and it’s history in England and the United States. I also learned how to strip my kit down to the bare essentials. When you have to carry every piece of gear by yourself all over a foreign country, it pays to be selective.
NESCom Blog: How did your time at NESCom prepare you for what you do today?
Wonder: The biggest thing NESCom helped me prepare for was the incredible work load you encounter in the real world. I had at least one video project due every week (usually more), which takes up a lot of time if you want them to be any good. I can remember many nights at NESCom where I was the last person to leave the building and the first person back the following morning. In this business it’s not uncommon to work 12+ hour days, in fact I’ve worked over 20 hours straight before. And then if you’re interested in producing your own content it all has to be done after that or on your days off so you really have to learn to budget your time and put in the work.
NESCom also really helped when it comes to being a one-man-band. Between all my courses I was challenged to learn about many different aspects of production which has enabled me to handle just about any part of it. Obviously you want to work with a team and find the best people suited for each position, but budgets don’t always allow for that so you often end up having to do the jobs of about 4-5 different people. If you are able to handle these sorts of tasks it’s going to make you far more employable than your competition.
At the New England School of Communications at Husson University, finding ways to push technology in journalism is part of our mission. Last week students experimented with broadcast quality and signal feed challenges using an iPad as a camera that can send a live feed back to the station using Skype. Students can now use the new Talk Show Skype TX hardware, which has been installed in the NESCom Video’s Master Control that allows for broadcasters to harness Skype technology with improved audio and video for broadcast.
For the same newscast, students fired up the new robotic camera and lighting in the newsroom for internal remotes. As with many live broadcast situations using new technology, there were challenges but the students worked through them to deliver the broadcast. Here are some pics showing the new set-ups.
Summer may be a time of rest for many students, but for two students from the New England School of Communications at Husson University, it’s a time to jump feet-first into new experiences and opportunities in the movie industry.
Audio Engineering 2015 graduate Alex Knowles of Chester, VT job shadowed for two days on the set of Central Intelligence, a film being shot in Boston starring comedian Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. During his days on-set, Knowles worked under head Audio Mixer Tom Williams. “I learned a lot of mixing tricks from Tom Williams, how and when to blend microphones, which mic to choose, and other mixing choices” says Knowles. “I also learned about Union work, IATSE, specifically the structure and why it’s important to workers”. Knowles adds that the best part was getting any and all of his questions answered. “Tom Williams and his team were very welcoming and enthusiastic with their answers”. Central Intelligence from New Line Cinema is set for a June 16th, 2016 release date.
Meanwhile across the city of Boston, another movie was being filmed; the much-publicized Ghostbusters movie featuring an all-female cast of ghostbusters including Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Kristen Wiig. NESCom Video Production Sophomore Zachary Greaton of Saco, ME was given the opportunity to work as a Production Assistant on-set. Greaton said this about his experience “I learned a ton about the chain of command on such a large set…which involved hundreds once 2nd unit came on board”. Ghostbusters from Sony Pictures is set for a July 22, 2016 release date.
Green means go, Green means Husson and this week at the New England School of Communications at Husson University, green also means Greenlight Maine. Faculty, students and alumni are working with the creative and production team of Brian Corcoran, Con Fullam, and Nat Thompson in a venture called Portland Media Group (PMG) on a new show called “Greenlight Maine”.
Greenlight Maine, which is produced by PMG with production management by NESCom, involves Maine entrepreneurs competing for a prize of more than $100,000 to invest in their businesses. Along the way, they’ll receive mentoring from corporate, media and marketing executives.
The production of the show is no small task. Over the course of 7 days, NESCom faculty, students and even a few alumni are working to tape 13 half-hour episodes that feature all 26 semifinalist entrepreneurs of the Greenlight Maine competition that was held earlier this year. Each episode includes interviews with the semifinalists and presenting their “pitch” to a panel of three judges. Each show has a new set of judges, the list of which reads like a “Who’s Who” in Maine.
PMG recruited an impressive group of sponsors which includes:
Bangor Savings Bank
Bernstein Shur Counselors at Law
Central Maine Power
Finance Authority of Maine
Don Foshay’s Discount Tire & Alignment
Moody’s Collision Centers
The show utilizes 6 cameras, full wireless audio, custom EVS workflows and a completely redesigned and rebuilt TV studio for the Show. The set, which is the creation of NESCom Entertainment Production assistant professor Brave Williams, has an entirely new “look and feel”. It fills the entire television studio at the Wildey Communication Center. Video instructor Kris Bridges is the director with support from faculty John Easton, Ed Goguen, Steve Vachon, Rick Davis, and Eric Ferguson. 1992 NESCom alum Nick Woodward has joined the crew as well as NESCom staffers Matt Bryant and Steve Toothaker. Recent graduate Heather Andrews and current students Cody Chaisson and Nick Evans are also part of the team.
Greenlight Maine will air on WCSH 6 in Portland and WLBZ 2 in Bangor starting September 12th. PMG and NESCom are in considering a follow-on show to be taped within the next 6 months. For more information on the program and the competition, visit www.greenlightmaine.com
The force is strong with these ones. Iron Horse Cinema recently took home top honors at the annual Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, CA. Their Star Wars fan film “Star Wars: The Lesser Evil” was chosen by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy as her favorite fan film of the event. The film was directed by 2009 Video Production graduate Sy Cody White. White is Creative Director for New Jersey-based Iron Horse Cinema and was on hand to accept the award with his colleagues.
Students of the New England School of Communications at Husson University handle all production aspects of the Nite Show, which airs nearly statewide on television stations in Portland, Bangor, and Presque Isle, Maine. As the students worked on the set for tonight’s taping at the Gracie Theatre, student Alan Wardwell shot a time-lapse of the 2+ hours it takes to assemble the set.
Five Video Production students at the New England School of Communications at Husson University are finalists in the Next Producer competition being held by NESN (New England Sports Network).
Heather Andrews, Dave Roberts, Ryan Carignan, Nick Young & Justin Foster worked as part of a team to tell the story of what it takes to cover a live sporting event. “We push that a broadcast team is just like a football team” says Andrews. “One team, one goal, striving for perfection, and going for the win (or in our case success)”.
NESN’s Next Producer competition is a new series that will officially premier on NESN on April 6th. The seven-episode run will air the student-made short films following Red Sox post-game coverage. The student filmmakers will get access to and input from two Hollywood producers with ties to New England – television Hall of Famer and Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner and Co- creator/Executive Producer, Brad Falchuk (Glee, American Horror Story, etc.). Falchuk is a Newton, Massachusetts native and passionate New England sports fan. Werner and Falchuk will coach the finalists to improve their films and pick the winner.
You can view & vote for the NESCom entry into the competition HERE. Help support the great work of NESCom students by sharing the voting link with friends and family.
The AS4MS is slated for Friday, April 10th, 7:30PM at the Gracie Theatre at Husson University. Performers include Worried Well, Tall Horse, One Shot Nothing, Skosh, & The Royal Bones. Tickets are $10 and are available online at whsn-fm.com, at all Bull Moose locations or at the door the night of the show.
The AS4MS is produced by WHSN with numerous departments and classes at NESCom assisting including Live Sound Technology, Entertainment Production, Video Production and more. Past AS4MS performances going back to 2008 are available at WHSN’s YouTube channel.
Equal Vision recording artists Northern Faces visited the studios of WHSN 89.3 FM last week to promote their first full-length album, set for release in early 2015. The interview and performance for WHSN was recorded in the audio engineering studio of the New England School of Communications by the students of the Audio II lab. You can watch their performance below via WHSN’s youtube channel.
For more on Northern Faces, visit them on Facebook.